January 23, 2005

Stealth Positive Result of (metaphorical) Conference Cuddle Party

I spent much more time than was good for me, listening to the "Webcred" Harvard conference. Anyway, as an item which seems under-reported, in fairness let it be noted that amidst all the A-list mutual reputation enhancement, at almost stealth level there does appear to have been a useful practical result. High-ranking people seem to have a greater acceptance and understanding of the value, both social and business, of releasing newspaper story archives from the current setup of having such archives under a pay-per-articles system. That is, currently, when many newspaper articles are archived, they are unlinkable, unsearchable, and can only be viewed by paying a fee. This barrier is often regarded as a bad thing in many ways.

Of course, anyone can proclaim "They shouldn't do this! They shouldn't! I say so!". But that doesn't change anything. It's just a nethead ranting off in a corner. However, when people who can make the change happen, hear it from other people who are deemed to have, err, "cred", that may accomplish something. From the transcript (my emphasis):

I came in[to journalism] with the view that archives were the primary source of revenue for these firms...
at least that was true of a few major companies.
but the more I hear about the social discussion here, for instance the desire for advertisers to lock in ad space on old pages for high-traffic news stories...
I think if there were some way to recognize this traffic, we could change this before it becomes so difficult
I think old stories would have a huge appeal if they didn't have to be paid for, and they would then pay for themselves in advertising...
and i think it would have a huge impact, then everyone would do it it would do things that papers desperately want; it would bring people!
I know they make a little money with this archive business, but if they could draw people to their site... that would be a tremendous value to them, an increase in their authority...
In our case, we *do* have enlightened management about this; we're just stuck on technologies...
we're moving an old telegraph model to a database model... links between all that stuff. will it all be free, and cost nothing? no.
but will it be free and open? yes, and it will be that way within... two years.

So, it must be recognized that there can be benefits to having a (metaphorical) cuddle party. Even if it's almost an unintended consequence. smiley image

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in webcred | on January 23, 2005 10:07 AM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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